Australia's Furnishing Industry is a major contributor to the economic wealth of the Australian economy, turning over billions of dollars annually. In 2002/2003 manufacturing output exceeded $9.5 billion. In the 2003/2004 FIAA member survey, 21% of members had total sales for the previous financial year of between $2million and $5million. This is a significant contribution to the economy, trade skills and employment rate and highlights the need for the Furnishing Industry in Australia.
The three main sectors of the industry are residential furniture/ furnishings, commercial (office or corporate) and hospitality (hotels, motels, resorts, etc). Residential makes up about two thirds of production output.
In 2002/2003 approximately 15,000 firms directly employed 94,000 workers and comprised of 60,588 jobs in manufacturing with a further 32,400 in associated roles. Consequently, the FIAA contributes significantly to Australia’s well acknowledged high employment rate.
The significant aspect of employment in the Furnishing Industry is the vast skilled labour areas that employees belong to. This includes suppliers, manufacturers and retailers and covers a variety of furniture sectors such as kitchen, bedding and outdoor furniture.
There is a sufficient supply of skilled labour to maintain the industry however, a key focus of the FIAA is to ensure this continues and to attract high quality, skilled labour to meet the furniture industry’s growing needs.
The FIAA prides itself on supporting and sustaining the Australian Furnishing Industry. Established since 1926 the industry’s longevity has been maintained by offering members advice, tailored to inspire, excite and enhance and evolve business operations over time.
Central to the Industry’s strength and sustainability, is the value Australian raw materials provide. Many of the raw materials needed for production are available locally and in the case of some woods, offer unique attractions.
The FIAA focuses it’s future efforts through the FIAC, by promoting sources of customer value such as quality, design, local manufacturing and the peace of mind that comes with buying Australian made. This directly increases the visibility and important role member’s play while also servicing the increasing retail sector.
Research conducted by Celsius Research for the FIAA in 2004, indicated there is a demand for Australian made furniture and that consumers would purchase Australian made products over a different country of origin if the products were identical.
In the consumer motivations survey, when participants were asked, Identical pieces of furniture but the country of origin is different. Which would you choose? 86% of respondents indicated Australia made would be their first choice. Thus, the FIAA and the FIAC is important to Australia, as is its sustainability in the future.
The survey also revealed that 67% of sales are locally manufactured and indicates the significant contribution the industry makes at a local level. This is a feature that the FIAA promotes to consumers and it will be reiterated through the FIAC to consumers that they are assisting with boosting both the economy and employment rates, when they buy Australian made.